Harding, Thomas, Jesuit
Harding, Thomas, Jesuit was born at Comb-Martin, in Devonshire, in 1512, and was educated at Barnstaple and Winchester, whence he was removed to New College, Oxford, of which he became fellow in 1536. In 1542 he was chosen Hebrew professor of the university by Henry VIII; but no sooner had Edward VI ascended the throne, than Harding became a zealous Protestant. He seemed, indeed, merely to be restrained by prudence from proceeding to great extremes. In the country zealous Protestants were edified by his instructions. At Oxford, he himself received instruction from Peter Martyr. From St. Mary's pulpit he derided the "Tridentine fathers as illiterate, paltry papists, and inveighed against Romish peculiarities." On the accession of queen Mary he became again a papist, and was made chaplain and confessor to Gardiner, bishop of Winchester. In 1555 he was made treasurer of the cathedral of Salisbury. "When Elizabeth came to the crown he could not muster face for a new recantation and being deprived of his preferment, fled to Louvain, and became, says Wood, "the target of Popery" in a warm controversy with bishop Jewel, against whom, between 1554 and 1567, he wrote seven pieces." He died in 1572. See Life of
Jewel; Zurich Letters; Burnet, Reformation, 1, 271; Wood, Athenae Oxonienses, vol. 1; Dodd, Church Hist.; Prince, Worthies of Devon; Chalmers, General Biog. Dict.; Hook, Eccles. Biog. vol. 5.